Visions of Liberation (ABC News' Spirituality Page)

As of late liberation talk seems to have entered into the lofty ranks of a "top ten list" of public enemies in American politics and popular culture. This development began roughly two years ago, during the most recent presidential election. It was then that Sen. Barack Obama publicly severed ties with the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, as the former pastor of Chicago's Trinity UCC Church was reduced to angry, out-of-context, sound bites on countless cable television news shows. More recently, however, this phenomenon reemerged in a concerted effort by Fox News' Glenn Beck to attack Dr. James Cone, the academic father of black liberation theology. Cone is a longtime member of the faculty at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where he has trained scores of dedicated religious leaders over a period of several decades. Together Wright (a preacher) and Cone (a professor) are two of the most prominent proponents of liberation theology in their respective professions. Yet despite long track records of quality service, both men were all too quickly cast aside as the embodied relics of the radical ethos and racial excess of the 1960s, aka, the decade of "black power."

Sadly, some readers probably clicked away from this reflection the moment they saw the words "liberation" in its opening sentence. Liberation has, unfortunately, become a code word for "communism," or "social justice," and countless other presumably undesirable ideologies. However, to relinquish the language of liberation from our religious lexicons would be to rob our spiritual lives of one of its most valuable resources...

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